TV & Movies

10 Of The Best Films To Catch At The Melbourne French Film Fest

By Stephen A Russell - 04 Mar 2019

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Pop the champagne, because the glorious Alliance Française French Film Festival marks turning 30 this year with one of its finest line-ups yet.

Kicking off with Cannes darling The Trouble With You, it features Amelie’s Audrey Tautou as a widower whose husband has been wrongly imprisoned, and rising star Adele Haenel as the young widower whose cop husband put him there. With over fifty features between that and closing night comedy Kiss & Tell, there’s plenty to choose from.

We’ve narrowed it down to ten red-hot picks including feminist vengeance kicks, sneaky romances and box office-busting laughs. As the French say “Allons y!”

Who You Think I Am

Who hasn’t fudged a flattering detail or two on Tinder? Megastar Juliette Binoche, in the first of three must-see fest appearances, takes it to the next level in this thrilling rom-com from director Safy Nebbou. Playing Claire, a uni lecturer with teenage sons, she fakes a 24-year-old online identity to catch her cheating partner, but ends up falling for his much younger mate. Awks.

For more info, click here.

Jean Paul Gaultier: Freak & Chic

The notorious leather-kilted king of French fashion JPG gets his freaky chic on, leaving the haute couture catwalks behind to throw a fabulously wild cabaret show at the infamously titillating Folies Bergères. Captured by director Yann L’Hénoret, look out for appearances by Marion Cotillard and Madonna. Fashionistas should also check out the eye-opening Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent.

For more info, click here.

Knife+Heart

PVC-coated pop star, model and actor Vanessa Paradis delivers one of cinema’s sexiest turns in this camp fantastic comedy slasher from director Yann Gonzales. Set in a super-stylised 1979, she plays a lesbian porn producer who finds herself suddenly short of gay male leads when a masked murdered with a dildo knife keeps fileting them. Yep, it’s totally barmy, and set to a brilliant M83 soundtrack.

For more info, click here.

High Life

Dildos also make an alarming appearance in French auteur Claire Denis’ sexual space odyssey that pairs a menacingly braided Binoche with Twilight alumni Robert Pattinson. He’s just a single dad trying to keep his baby daughter alive in a failing spaceship caught in the inexorable pull of a black hole. She’s the doomed ship’s wildly inappropriate doctor, obsessed with the continuation of the species. What could go wrong?

For more info, click here.

Dumped

All the single ladies, now put your hands up for Eloïse Lang’s empowering comedy about sisters (Camille Cottin and Camille Chamoux) who team-up to cheer their mum (Miou-Miou) after their dad runs off with a younger woman. Retreating to the paradise isle of La Réunion, they recruit swarthy Thierry (Johan Heldenberg, The Zookeeper’s Wife) to fake-woo her, sparking a fun farce.

For more info, click here.

Revenge

Empowerment takes a brutal turn, Kill Bill-style, in Coralie Fargeat’s ultraviolent, kick-ass debut starring a magnetic Matilda Lutz as Jen. When her mega-rich married fling Richard (Kevin Janssens) takes her to a desert retreat, his rapey best mates show up. Leaving her for dead is their worst mistake. Held firmly in the female gaze, the bloodletting that follows would make any interior decorator wince.

For more info, click here.

Sink Or Swim

Actor-turned-director Gilles Lellouche hit the big time with his debut feature, smashing the French box office. Big names including Mathieu Amalric and Guillaume Canet star as middle-aged men on a road to nowhere who suddenly find purpose in the country’s least likely synchronised swimming team. Virginie Efira and Leïla Bekhti co-star as the coaching hoping to make a splash with these losers.

For more info, click here.

Sorry Angel

Get the hankies at the ready for this 90s-set Parisian romance set during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Directed by Christophe Honoré, hunky Pierre Deladonchamps plays Jacques, a free-spirited author who makes the most of the days he has left. A trip to the country leaves him inextricably bound to Vincent Lacoste’s 20-something dreamer Arthur. Full of sparky wit and soaring heart, it’s also packed with snappy sass.

For more info, click here.

Non-Fiction

Complete the Binoche trifecta with the latest treat from remarkable filmmaker Olivier Assayas, the brains behind Personal Shopper and The Clouds of Sils Maria. Playing frustrated TV star Selena, she’s having a secret affair with author Léonard (Vincent Macaigne). Selena’s husband Alain (Guillaume Canet) happens to be his publisher and knocks back his latest manuscript. Cue v French three-way.

For more info, click here.

By The Grace Of God

Nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, this hard-hitting drama from François Ozon (Frantz, 8 Women) tackles the dark legacy of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Melville Poupaud (Laurence Anyways) plays a survivor who recruits his childhood friends (Denis Ménochet and Swann Arlaud), hoping to bring justice to their abuser.

For more info, click here.

The Details

What: Alliance Française French Film Festival
When: 6 March - 10 April
Where: Various cinemas around Melbourne
For more info head here.

Looking for something else to do this week? Head to our Things To Do section.

Image credit: High Life

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